Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump followed through with his promise to skip the GOP debate on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, which opened up an opportunity for his competitors to take jabs at him.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor who’s been on the receiving end of many insults by Trump, was one of the first to acknowledge Trump’s absence by stating, “Let’s address the elephant not in the room tonight,” which prompted Texas Senator Ted Cruz to respond by imitating Trump’s strong personality.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) made fun of Trump during the Thursday night GOP debate in Iowa. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly! And Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon. Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way, I want to thank everyone here for showing the men and women of Iowa the respect to show up.”
Yet, around half an hour later, Cruz returned to the Trump topic, and again, imitated the billionaire’s previous actions of threatening to leave.
“If you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.”
Cruz’s comments incited Jeb Bush to chime in, who’s also been on the receiving end of some of Trump’s scathing remarks.
“I kinda miss Donald Trump. He was a little teddy bear to me. We always had such a loving relationship there in these debates and in between with the tweets. I kinda miss him. I wish he was here.”
Prior the debate, founder of Fox News Rupert Murdoch tweeted that the GOP must be looking forward to a night without Trump garnering attention, yet it seems as if the direct opposite happened.
The New York Times reports that offstage, the attention centered around Trump continued, with several news outlets, namely CNN, focusing solely on Trump skipping out of the debate. In fact, a correspondent for the news station summed it up by stating, “His shadow is looming large, even though he is not there.”
Meanwhile, Trump hosted his own rally at the nearby Drake University as the GOP debate took place. Trump, raising money for the Wounded Warriors project, pulled off what CNN reports as a “major counter-programing feat,” drawing in a mass of supporters who helped to raise over $6 million for veterans. Trump announced that he put in $1 million of his own money for the sake of helping veterans across the nation.
“We love our vets. You know, my whole theme is make America great again and that’s what we’re going to do — and we wouldn’t have even been here if it weren’t for our vets.”
Trump, known for his over-the-top confidence, admitted that even he was surprised at the turn out. True to his usual self, he compared the event to the Academy Awards, and bragged that his event probably has more cameras than the GOP debate.
“Look at all the cameras. This is like the Academy Awards. We’re actually told that we have more cameras than they do by quite a bit, and you know what that’s really in honor of our vets.”
Despite the jabs and insults that were taking place not far from the auditorium stage he stood on at Drake University, Donald Trump genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself and his night away from a debate. He joked about his daughter Ivanka Trump, pregnant with her third child, delivering in Iowa.
“Ivanka, I said, it would be so great if you had your baby in Iowa. It would be so great — I’d definitely win!”
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]